A group of Angus fisherman have caused a change of plans for a £3 billion offshore wind development.
The critics raised concerns that a pontoon to service the Seagreen offshore wind farm would prevent boats from berthing in front of Ferryden, the village opposite Montrose.
The objections of the Ferryden fishermen were made clear during a consultation exercise undertaken by wind farm operator SSE Renewables and the Port of Montrose, where the project’s operations and maintenance base will be located.
Plans for the operations base have now been finalised with the pontoon – which some residents felt would ruin their views – moved to a new location which has the community’s approval.
The wind farm project team has also announced it will support a £1.8 million community benefit fund which will be divided between six community councils – Tealing, Murroes and Wellbank, Carnoustie, Arbroath, Ferryden and Craig and Montrose.
Chief executive of Montrose Port Authority Captain Tom Hutchison said: “As a trust port we have a duty of care to all our stakeholders to ensure that we operate in a fair and transparent manner for everybody’s benefit.
“We listened to the concerns put forward about the original pontoon design and after working collaboratively with all parties involved have come up with a working solution.
“The Seagreen project is of huge importance to the local economy and will create a significant number of jobs here in Montrose and the wider area.
“We are delighted that this phase of the development has been agreed and look forward to construction work getting underway shortly.”
The 1,075MW Seagreen project, located 27km off the coast of Angus, is a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Total.
It will be Scotland’s single largest source of renewable energy, providing a significant contribution to Scotland’s net-zero ambition and enough clean, renewable energy to power 1.3 million homes.
Last October Montrose Port was selected as the home for the operations and maintenance base for the 114-turbine development, bringing investment and jobs to the local area for the 25-year life of the project.
Work has been underway since to agree plans for the base at the Port’s South Quay which include an operations building, repurposed warehouse, communications tower, and a pontoon for crew transfer vessels travelling to the Seagreen site offshore.
With the pontoon issue settled, construction work on the operations and maintenance base will commence this autumn and last around 12 months. The pontoon will now be located alongside berth five at the port.
Andy Kay, Seagreen operations and maintenance package manager, said: “The operations and maintenance base at Montrose Port will play an important role in the day-to-day running of Seagreen and we’re pleased to confirm that we have finalised plans for this.
“Seagreen represents one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in Scotland and will support a significant number of jobs during construction and throughout its operational life.”
Angus MP Dave Doogan added: “This is a vital milestone in the delivery of the Seagreen project.
“The opportunities of construction will be positively felt while the ongoing employment opportunities of operations and maintenance at Montrose Port are very welcome here in Angus and especially in Montrose.
“This will put Montrose in an enviable position as we continue to develop renewable energy opportunities in the North Sea in the coming years and I look forward very much to seeing first-hand the positive impact of the £1.8 million Community Benefit Fund on the six communities set to benefit.”
First power at Seagreen is expected by the end of 2021 with the offshore wind farm expected to be completed and enter commercial operation in 2022/23.